(I am also using this as a distraction from the news while I'm waiting for my beta to get back to me about a new fic)
I'm doing this as I watch the episodes btw, and I'm hoping to cover the following shows:
Digimon (inc. Adventure, Adventure 02, Adventure Tri, the movies, followed by the other shows)
Naruto (inc. Naruto, Shippuden, all the movies and the Hidens (will be skipping most fillers))
Yuri!!! on Ice
edit: Adding Orange and Hey Arnold (I know, not an anime, but I want to watch it all again before its big comeback later this year!)
I'll be following subbed episodes for the most part, and using Japanese names where I can :)
So first up...
Series synopsis: Seven kids are transported to the Digital World, a strange place where digital creatures called "Digimon" reside. A group of Digimon soon befriend them and keep the kids out of harm's way. The children then discover they are the Chosen Children, which protect the Digital World from evil Digimon like Devimon and Vamdemon.
Episode 01 - Adrift! The Island of Adventure / And So It Begins
Original Japanese airdate - March 7th, 1999
The Japanese version immediately begins with a far superior opening to its English counterpart - the late Wada Kouji's Butter-fly - A million times better than the "Digimon Digital Monsters" ditty from most English versions. The opening graphics are mostly the same as the English ones, introducing all our main characters and foreshadowing the first Big Bad (anime openings are usually always good, but they're not so good if you're not keen on spoilers...).
It starts with a voiceover explaining that freak weather conditions have been affecting Earth...and then takes us to a summer camp where the kids are hanging out.
Right off the bat we're introduced to Yagami Taichi (Tai Kamiya in the dub), Takenouchi Sora, Ishida Yamato (Matt Ishida) - all in 5th grade, Izumi Koushiro (Koushiro "Izzy" Koushiro), Tachikawa Mimi - both in 4th grade, Takaishi Takeru (TK Takaishi) - 2nd grade, and Kido Jou - 6th Grade. All the kids go to Odaiba Elementary, except from Takeru.
Suddenly the camp is enveloped in a snow storm and the kids get separated from the rest of the camp. Afte the snow stops, the kids go out to play in the snow, Koushiro tries to connect to the internet, when he's called on by the others as an aurora's suddenly appeared. Koushiro comments that this shouldn't be happening. Suddenly meteors appear from nowhere striking the ground right next to the kids. Looking down at where the 'meteors' landed, the kids find small digital devices which soon start to levitate. The devices come to life and seem to summon a giant wave that lifts the kids up into the sky, and after that they cross over into the Digital World.
The next thing Taichi knows is that he's being start at by a talking pink blob which he's immediately afraid of. The blob introduces itselt as Koromon and says he was waiting for Taichi. Koushiro appears being followed by a similar creature called Motimon. With the kids hot knowing where they are, the creatures declare that they're on File Island. Taichi climbs a tree and confirms they're on an island, before he spots what he thinks is a stag beetle, but it's actually a dangerous Kuwagamon. The Kuwagamon tries to attack Taichi, knocking him out of the tree.Motimon leads the kids to safety inside some sort of holographic tree, while initially hesitating, the kids follow to keep safe.
When the danger appears to pass, they're joined by another of their campmates, Sora, with her own creature - Pyocomon, then Takeru with Tokomon and Yamato with Tsunomon...and then a petrified Jou with Pukamon. Jou is freaking out over Pukamon following him about and is stunned to see all the other kids have similar creatures following them. The creatures then explain that they are Digimon - Digital Monsters. The kids realise that Mimi is missing and discover that both she and her Digimon, Tanemon are under attack from Kuwagamon, forcing all of the kids to run for cover as it repeatedly divebombs them
Taichi wants to battle Kuwagamon but the other kids overule him and then continue to run - until they come to a dead end at the edge of a cliff. Taichi doesn't want to give up and tries to look for another way to escape before Kuwagamon attacks again. Koromon and all the Digimon attack Kuwagamon to protect their human partners and seem to succeed, but the kids are upset that the Digimon appear to be hurt. At that moment, Kuwagamon reappears and drives the kids to the cliff-edge. Koromon tells Taichi that he and the other Digimon have to fight Kuwagamon, and, to the kids' horror, they're all very insistent about this. The kids worries about the Digimons' welfare, along with an emotional outburst from Taichi is enough to promt the Digimon to Digivolve (yay for the Japanese soundtrack cos we get to listen to Brave Heart!) to the next level, giving them new abilities to defeat the Koromon, and stunning the kids as they appear to defeat Kuwagamon for good....but it comes back again, and uses its pincers to make the edge of the cliff collapse with the kids and the Digimon on it....
And that's where the episode ends, before going into its first ending theme - I Wish - by AiM (Mimi's voice actor) which I'll be honest...I'm not a fan of, at least not this original version.
The preview for the next episode teases a battle against Shellmon while the kids find out more about the Digital World and their Digimons' abilities, and it gives us a sneak peak at Greymon!
Memorable Quotes - None really
Memorable Moments - Jou's reaction to Pukamon; Taichi asserting himself as the defacto leader; the Digimon Digivolving for the first time
Notable Firsts - Well, everything really - first time meeting the kids, first time visiting the digital world, first time meeting Digimon, first time fighting Digimon, etc etc
Overall Impression - It's a solid, if fairly pedestrian first episode which while full of nostalgia, doesn't do much to grab the imagination, and I can see why so many thought it was simply a cheap rip-off of Pokemon. The digimon are cute as always, but they're accepted far too quickly, and the instant bonding between the kids and their partners felt hollow. I know this is a show for kids, but it could have done with more build-up, especially since the show devotes a lot of time to exploring the kids' bonds with their Digimon in later episodes. Taichi is decently established as the lead character and as the 'go-getter' of the group. Other kids whose eventual roles are all but confirmed in this episode are: Koushiro (the Computer Whizz), Jou (the Panic-merchant) and Takeru (the baby of the group), while Sora, Yamato and Mimi aren't really focused on much. While looking at the show's production values, echnically speaking the animation is fairly decent for the late 90s and while I'm sure there are errors, I didn't notice any myself. The voice acting is excellent, meaning that both the original and the English dub boast great casts. The incidental music is better than the English dub, but I kind of miss the English dub's music because it was so corny it was good!
Overall Score - 3.5/5 - While not stellar, it doesn't do anything particularly badly either and while it could have been better, it could have been a whole lot worse. The shows introduces us to various plot elements in a straightforward way as well which is always good. We see Digivices and Digimon and learn where we are. and it's enough to leave us wanting to know more.
Otaku Notes - Being the first anime I ever watched means this show will always have a special place in my heart. I started watching it religiously every day after school. This and Hey Arnold were the last 'kids shows' I watched before I deemed cartoons 'too immature' (wonder that the me of then would make of the me of now...).
Some notes on some of the voices in this show - Having initially watched this show in English, it's kind of weird watching it in Japanese as Takeuchi Junko (Naruto himself) voices both Pukamon and Gomamon.
On a much sadder note however, is that within the past year the Digimon franchise has lost both Wada Kouji, and Mizutani Yuuko. Wada provided much of the music for Digimon, including its famous Butter-fly theme, while Mizutani was the original voice of Sora.
Also, as I was typing this review, I was kind of stunned at just how much of the Japanese I can now understand as I wasn't able to read the subs and type at the same time!